Trails under your wheels, Tauern mountains in view. The Stoneman Taurista as a two-day tour Tour challenges without over-challenging – and rewards mountain bikers with fabulous backdrops and a silver stone.
“You have to head that way, to the chapel!“ The lift worker calls to us and points to a gravel track, crossing underneath the mountain lift station. Admittedly, with our touring rucksack, touring bike and touring helmet we are - amid the full visor and protector-wearing downhillers on long-stroke bikes - easily recognisable as real bikers. But to therefore recommend a perp walk to God’s House? Or does the good man mean me and my two biking companions could do with a bit of divine guidance?We prefer not to ask any further questions and steer our bikes in the provided direction. “Griessenkar – Edelweiss-Alm“ stands in large, white letters on the visible information board next to the said House of God. Hanging from its lower corner - the imaginary carrot of this afternoon, which we are following like donkeys: a hole punch, with which we can stamp the next hole in our start cards.
The Stoneman Taurista is a well-marked bike tour through the impressive mountain world of the Radstädter and Schladminger Tauern ranges. There’s a total of 123 km and 4.500 m elevation to conquer as a circular tour. Way too much for three aging ex-racers, who as a result of a jolly evening wish to prove their sporting ability – at least if they had to achieve this goal in one go.
Having our bones thoroughly shaken and with slightly hurting hands, but wide grins, the 3.7 km long Hard Rock Trail spits us out 950 m further down after numerous roots, steps, artificially created bends and waves into the “Silent Night“ resort of Wagrain.What a contrast to the day before, where non-professionally shaped terrain, doubles and step downs shaped by Mother Nature, ensured variety and biking fun. Completely engrossed and enchanted, we headed up to start our two-day trip along fabulous natural trails through deep-green fairy-tale forests and seemingly mysterious high moors up on the 1.770 m Rossbrand. Radstadt’s local mountain is recommended for excursions due to its spectacular 360° panoramas of over 150 alpine peaks. I also liked its playful trails along mustard-coloured grasses, knotty trees and deep, dark pools.
Long before undertaking our tour, I considered how we could best split the challenges of the Stoneman Taurista over two day. Five official access points are available and a number of accommodation properties along the route, plus the Enns cycle path as quick transfer route between the stage resorts, leave you wide open to choice.As I sank into bed at the end of the first day with heavy legs and a buzzing head, it was clear to me: it doesn’t (actually) matter. With its fabulous views and fascinating insights, challenging ascents and rewarding descents, slow trails and fast-paced lines, this tour is in any combination and sequence as hard as it is gentle.
After a short tarmac ascent up to the Edelweiss-Alm, we then too have our last Stoneman stamp in our pockets. Whilst we pedal back exhausted via the picturesque Moardörfl, Schloss Höch and the Enns cycle path to our starting point in Altenmarkt, the images of the past hours and kilometres roll by. We groaned crossing the Tauern under the weight of our bikes, we suffered and cursed in the murderously steep valley bowl behind the Vögeialm. We stood quietly for a while on top of the Rossbrand and counted peak upon peak of the alpine exhibition in front of us. We discover special things everywhere: sweet blueberries, little lizards, protected moor plants, cosy farmers’s snugs. We biked enthusiastically and enjoyed refreshment – alpine cheese, sausage soup, game gulash, Kaiserschmarrn (chopped pancake dish); yes, even a taster from the Mandlberggut Destillery was a must.Now we’re tired, but we’ve finished. It’s time to pick up our silver stones and head home proud and happy.
Tips & Info: Length of trail: 123 km/4,500 m elevationHighest point: Seekarscharte, 2,110 mAvailability: The trail is open from mid-June to the end of September; biking in the forest areas only permitted in a time period of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset.
You can find all information HERE.